To Ice Or Not To Ice: 5 Reasons To Try The Wim Hof Method

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

Learn how NAVY SEALs, elite athletes and Silicon Valley CEOs perform their best under a high-stress environment

Developed by Dutchman Wim Hof, a.k.a. The Iceman, the Wim Hof Method is a combination of meditation, breathing exercises and exposure to cold. Wim Hof is somewhat of a super human, having broken 26 world records including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts and swimming underneath ice for 66 meters, and believes that anyone can learn his breathing technique to achieve their best in life.

Brian Lai from Primal Breathwork, Hong Kong’s first and only certified Wim Hof Method Instructor, explains how the Wim Hof Method can help you achieve an optimal state of body and mind balance.

1. It improves stress management

A significant part of the Wim Hof Method is breathwork, which is centred around two elements: breath awareness and conscious breathing technique. By paying attention to your breathing, which tends to be shallow under stressful conditions, you can consciously apply breathing exercises to return your body to a relaxed state.

Breathing is also a natural way to fight depression and anxiety, as you create an acute awareness that empowers you to take control over your thoughts, emotions and ultimately, your body.

"The benefits of breathwork compound over time… most people start to feel the effect of it within the first five to ten minutes in a session."

— Brian Lai

2. It will help you achieve optimal performance

Used by US Navy SEALS, Silicon Valley CEOs, professional athletes and MMA fighters, the Wim Hof Method can help train your brain to improve focus and increase self-control and willpower through meditation and conscious breathing, which in the long run can help you make better choices and commit to goals that will set you up for success.

3. Ice baths have many physical benefits

The ice bath is a physical stressor in which your breathwork is put to the test, forcing your body to reset your stress response with the help of breathing exercises. Through breathwork, our body can go up to a pH of 8, which helps us manage the pain through breathing, rather than pure will.

The ice is also said to help promote blood flow, reduce inflammation, increase beneficial brown fat stores, release cold shock proteins, and boost our immune system and metabolism.

"The ice bath is probably the most intense situation you can ever put your mind and body through, and if you can control your mind through breathing and get into a relaxed state, that skill can be transferred to every aspect of your life.

— Brian Lai

4. It induces a meditative state

By actively focusing on deep, diaphragmatic breathing, your body is able to switch from a stress response to a relaxation response that puts your body and mind in a parasympathetic state.

The Wim Hof Method is especially beneficial for those who struggle to meditate, as it teaches you to train your neural pathway—the key to manage your state of mind and effortlessly transition into a meditative state.

5. It will help you enter a "flow state”

The Wim Hof method is a gateway to achieve flow, an optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.

Through conscious breathing, you’re armed with focus and determination as your whole being is involved in the present moment, or "in the zone", which is a mental state that indicates you've mastered your own body and mind.

If you want to learn more about the mental and physical health benefits related to open water swimming and cold exposure, feel free to join our ICEWIM Facebook group.

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